Happy New Year, and Happy Anniversary AWSP!

Dr. Scott Seaman, Executive Director, AWSP
Jan 05, 2022

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2022 Marks AWSP's 50th Anniversary

Welcome back everyone! We hope you enjoyed your break. We also hope you prioritized taking care of yourself by completely disconnecting from work. It’s no secret that the first half of this school year was daunting to say the least; so resting, recharging, and self-care were necessary.

So here we are again. Back at it. 2022 sitting new at the top of our calendars, yet our circumstances and contexts remain the same. You are right back in the middle of this fast-paced and ever-changing river of public education. And, we are right there with you just like we’ve been for the last five decades. That’s right…50 years of supporting all principals, and the principalship, in the education of each and every student in our state.

This year we are celebrating our 50th year in existence as one of the country’s premier professional membership organizations for principals. Our humble beginning started in 1972 thanks to a handful of courageous leaders who believed “principals” needed their own voice in the P16 educational system. And, 50 years later, AWSP has maintained that vision and continues to be a leading voice for principals and assistant principals throughout our state and across the country.

There has never been a more important time for us to make a stand for the important role and work principals and assistant principals do every day for students, staff, and school communities. As we embark on our 50th anniversary, we will spend the year celebrating you and the organization that has faithfully and consistently represented you. The work you do every day for students, staff, and your community is too important not to be recognized and celebrated. We will use this 50th anniversary as an opportunity to continue sharing with the world the work and impact you have day in and day out. Principals matter.

We will also use this opportunity to fight for the principalship. It is often described as the best job in the world, yet the most challenging. We can also safely say that during the last ten years it has become daunting, unrealistic, untenable, and borderline unbearable. Something needs to change because our students cannot afford ineffective or inconsistent leadership. They need you to be great and stay in your role. It’s time for action. Time for us to stand up and fight for more realistic working conditions and expectations. Everyone needs to be paying attention to the plight of our school leaders and coming together to brainstorm solutions that provide immediate relief before it’s too late. The urgency is real and you can read more if you missed my previous blog, “Grace is Gone; Our School Leaders Might be Next.”

Research and recent national principal surveys indicate that many of our best and brightest principals have considered and/or are considering leaving the profession because of the unbearable nature of the work, especially this past year. Clearly that’s an option you must consider if you or your family are suffering as a result of the stress, anxiety, and demands of the job. However, I would encourage you to channel your frustration into a different kind of change. Help us change the landscape of the principalship. Instead of walking away from your passion and impact, step forward with us and your colleagues to build a new future for school leaders. Join us in taking this vitally important message to everyone with influence in the education system. If you don’t, then who will? Together we can set the stage for the next 50 years and create inspirational and hope-filled schools for each and every student.

50 years from now I’m hoping that whoever stands in our shoes will be able to say that not only did we fight for that change, but that we did it. That thanks to courageous leadership from current and future school principals we were able to completely rethink the P16 experience for our students and families. That thanks to persistent and highly effective leadership we rebuilt schools to meet the needs of each and every one of our students, not the needs of the system. And, that thanks to a collective effort we reimagined the roles and expectations placed upon school leaders so that everyone aspires to school leadership. That’s what I hope for.

As always, reach out to me directly with thoughts, questions, or ideas. Our students depend on it.

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  • 2022
  • 50th anniversary
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